In this tutorial, we will create a pixel stretch effect in Affinity Photo. When you select images for this effect, make sure the subject in your image is doing some type of motion such as running, dancing, skating, etc. With the pixel stretch effect, you select a row or column of pixels and stretch them across an image. This effect creates a surrealistic look.
Before you begin, go to the following link to download the image of the dancing woman.
First, go to File > Open, and select the downloaded image.
Second, go to the Layers Panel and click on the Lock icon on the Background pixel layer to unlock the image.
Next, grab the Selection Brush tool from the Tools Panel. In the Context Toolbar, set the Mode to Add and make sure Snap to Edges is checked. Then, take the brush and select the woman.
Once you’ve selected the girl, go to the Context toolbar, and select Refine. Then, set the Output to New Layer with Mask and hit Apply.
In the Layers Panel, select the mask of the woman. Grab the Paint Brush tool from the Tools Panel. Next, go to the Swatches Panel and activate the black color.
With the mask layer still selected, take the brush, and remove any blurry or smudged areas you see.
Next, go to the Layers Panel and click the Add Pixel Layer icon to add a new pixel layer. Then, go to the Swatches Panel. Double click on the white color to bring up the Color Chooser. Set the hex code to the following color code #E0C610.
With the new pixel layer still selected, go to the Edit menu. Then, select Fill with Primary Color to fill the pixel layer with the color we chose.
In the Layers Panel, drag the filled pixel layer beneath the woman. Then, move the woman slightly to the left while holding Shift.
Go to the Layers Panel and select the woman and mask pixel layer. Press CRTL + J to make a duplicate of this layer. Or right click on it and select Duplicate.
With the duplicated layer selected, move it slightly to the right while holding Shift. After that, press CTRL + J a few times to make more duplicates of the woman.
Now, go to the Layers Panel. Select the duplicated layer at the top. Then, scroll down to the bottom of the list. Press and hold Shift and select the first duplicated layer you selected.
With the duplicated layers selected, press CTRL + G to group the layers together. Or right click on the selection and click Group.
Next, right click on the group in the Layers Panel and click Rasterize.
Select the rasterized layer. Then, grab the Rectangular Marquee tool from the Tools Panel. Take the tool and make a selection from the top of the woman down to her shoes.
Once you’ve made the selection, hit Refine in the Context Toolbar. Then, set the Output to New Layer and hit Apply.
Now, take the Move Tool and stretch the layer across the document. Also, hold CTRL while you stretch it.
In the Layers Panel, turn the woman layer back on. Then, delete the other stretched layer from before. After that, select the layer we stretched and move it below the layer with the woman.
With the stretched pixel layer selected, press CTRL + J to make a duplicate of it. Then, press CTRL + J four more times so that there’s a total of six stretched layers.
Select all the stretched layers and press CTRL + G to group them together. Or right click on the selected layers and click Group.
Now, right click on the group and click Rasterize.
Next, select the stretched layer. Then, go tot the Filters menu. Click on Distort and select Rectangular to Polar.
After that, resize the stretched layer. Then, select the woman and place her in the center of the stretched layer.
Now, select the stretched layer. Then, click the Mask Layer icon in the Layers Panel to add a mask.
Select the mask. Then, grab the Paint Brush tool from the Tools Panel. In the Swatches Panel, make sure the black color is active. Now, take the brush and remove the part of the stretched layer that’s on the right side of the woman.
Finally, select the three layers. Right-click on the selected layers and select Merge Visible. This puts all our work into a single pixel layer. Then, turn the other layers off.
Congratulations, this tutorial is complete! You’ve created a pixel stretch effect in Affinity Photo. For more Affinity Photo tutorials, check out this article on how to create a halftone effect.